It’s 10:18 A.M. Susanna Madriz attentively watches the proceedings from her chair, just left of center at the horseshoe-shaped table, a chair she knows well from her frequent appearances during the previous year and a half. Despite the piles of dark hair stacked on her head, her motionless body appears smaller than her 5 foot 7 inch frame. Woody Cortridge, a thin white man with short graying hair, sits beside her. As her attorney, he offers an occasional comment, though in this proceeding he is impotent; he lost this case before it started. The three other attorneys, also seated at the table, speak around Susanna without addressing her or explicitly acknowledging her presence. None of their clients is present: the county has no social worker there today, Susanna’s ex-boyfriend-her daughter’s biological father-has never participated in the case and is again absent, and Susanna’s two-year-old daughter Tiffany has never set foot in the room where her fate will be decided.